The description of the Wooden Swords which provides basic facts and information about the practice weapon is as follows:
- Wooden Swords - This weapon originated as a club or cudgel and is the simplest of all mêlée weapons
- The Baton - Medieval Wooden Swords, were the names of the swords which were used in Tournaments or training and were made of whalebone or wood
- Wooden Swords measured two and a half feet long - the length of Wooden Swords were specified in a fifteenth century treatise on cries des joustes
- A Rebated sword is one that has had its point and edge blunted for training or tournament
- Behourd was the old name of the training ground for young knights and squires. The behourd was also used as a friendly tournament to be held at special occasions such as weddings, knight ceremonies and coronations
- At these special tournaments, or behourds, the Medieval Wooden Swords were decorated to give the appearance of real weapons
- Wooden Swords were only used to strike 'above the belt'
- Training Combats or tournaments using Wooden Swords were settled by either a set number of counted blows, or until one or both combatants had been “satisfied” i.e. had enough
- The wooden sword was used as a versatile, close contact practice weapon. It was cheap to produce in its simplest form being made from a single piece of wood that was narrow enough on one end to be grasped by the hand
- Wooden Swords were made of any type of hard wood, lime was often preferred
- A blow from a wooden sword or a baton could apply tremendous force
Training Combats or tournaments (behourds) using Wooden Swords
Training Combats or tournaments (behourds) using Wooden Swords were settled by either a set number of counted blows, or until one or both combatants had been “satisfied” i.e. had enough. Certain blows or manoeuvres using Wooden Swords were allocated set numbers of points.
- Thrusts to the body, shoulder and face counted as three points
- An immobilization or disarm was counted as three points
- Thrusts to the rest of the body or wrists counted for one point
- Strikes made with the use of the pommel or quillon also counted for one point
N.B. The quillon was the crossbar on the hilt of a sword. The pommel was part of the hilt which acted as a counterweight to the blade.